The Malaysian government has barred Muslims from attending a concert by US hip-hop stars the Black Eyed Peas next month because the event is organised by the Irish brewer Guinness, an official said today.
The ban comes amid a clampdown on alcohol consumption among Malaysia’s Muslim majority.
A woman who drank beer in public was sentenced to caning by a court last month, but the authorities – who recently curbed the sale of alcohol in a central state – have since agreed to review the punishment.
Muslims in Malaysia are governed by sharia law – which forbids the consumption of alcohol – in family and personal matters.
The Black Eyed Peas will perform at a theme park near Kuala Lumpur on 25 September as part of a worldwide series of events to mark the 250th anniversary of the Guinness brewery in Dublin.
Malaysia’s largest city is one of five places hosting Guinness concerts, and its website said the party was “only open to non-Muslims aged 18 years and above”.
Previous major pop concerts in Malaysia, including one by the Black Eyed Peas in 2007, have always been open to Muslims.
“Muslims cannot attend. Non-Muslims can go and have fun,” an official at the ministry of information, communication and culture told the Associated Press.
It was not immediately clear how the ban on Muslims would be enforced.
The official said the concert would not have been permitted under normal circumstances because government regulations forbid alcohol companies from organising events.
However, they made an exception in the hope that it would boost tourism. The official said Guinness could not use its logo in concert publicity material.